Extra time for extra signatures

17th June 2014 – 5.25 pm

Back through class 2 w-space. The Helios covert operations boat is probably still running idle loops around its tower, the Impairor frigate motionless nearby. In to class 3 w-space, our neighbouring system, and is that a new signature the discovery scanner is blinking at me? It's not immediately obvious, what with the other signatures also blinking annoyingly at me, but I counted how many there were before and there is one more now. Information without input.

I launch probes and resolve the new signature. Unsurprisingly, it's a new wormhole. Somewhat surprisingly, it's not a K162. The wormhole is an I182, an outbound connection to class 2 w-space. Well, that somewhat reinvigorates the constellation, albeit through a link that the discovery scanner will soon propagate in to the connected system. I'd best hurry through.

Updating my directional scanner in C2d sees a tower but no ships, which is a bit of a shame, least of all because the eighteen anomalies are accompanied by a puny three signatures. Those will be the K162 I am sitting on and the system's two static wormholes. Outbound connections only. The abundance of anomalies to lack of signatures also suggests the locals are somewhat industrial in nature, more likely to suck on gas than shoot Sleepers. They are good to find. Well, used to be good to find, when you had time to surgically hunt the gassing ships.

I may as well exhaust the chain, particularly when scanning the next link is so straightforward. The two wormholes are an exit to low-sec Sinq Laison and a connection to more class 2 w-space. Okay, press on, although jumping to C2e lands me almost seven kilometres from the K162's locus, and d-scan is clear. Never mind, launch probes, blanket the system, see what's there. Eight anomalies, eight signatures, one ship, seven drones. That's a suspicious number of drones.

Exploring the system has d-scan showing me a tower with a Mammoth hauler, making drone use even less likely. Even so, it will be worth locating the ship, which doesn't quite work out as I plan. By the time I'm floating cloaked outside the tower the Mammoth is no more, replaced by a Probe frigate. I suppose I could try to catch the Probe when he goes to take a look at the new wormhole in his system, but the pilot doesn't even launch scanning probes. I think he's just swapping to a sleeper ship. A ship to sleep in, that is, not a drone of an ancient and lost civilisation.

The Probe blinks off-line as a cousin of that pilot appears in an Ibis frigate. This is as temporary as the Probe, the Ibis disappearing as it is replaced by, hullo, a Tayra hauler. I get my hopes up for a possible chase, not that I currently stand a chance even against a slow ship, only for my hopes to be dashed as the Tayra blinks off-line, this time with no immediate replacement. Okay, balls to the constellation, I've done enough scanning for tonight. It really is time to head home and go off-line.

Well, it would be time to go off-line, except when I get home there's a new signature in this system too. I launch probes and resolve the signature, under some misguided notion that I'm performing system security, resolving a K162 from class 4 w-space. I poke through to see what kind of activity may be stirring up, to see two Dominix battleships on d-scan. No tower. Nothing out of range either. I'd be more interested if I saw either Sleeper wrecks or drones, but without either I am not inclined to believe the battleships are actually doing anything.

I move from the wormhole and cloak, watching the Dominices on d-scan anyway. They must be here for a reason, even if I don't know what it is. I open my system map and poke around with a narrow d-scan beam. The ships aren't in an anomaly, aren't at the star, aren't at a planet. They're in space. Well, obviously. Although not any more, having dropped off d-scan completely. I think that's my cue to launch probes and get them safely out of d-scan range.

Eight signatures, five chubby enough to be potential K162s. Two signatures seem more likely than the others, but a quick check finds them both to be gas sites. What about the others? Well, one of them has to be a K162, what with the battleships being here one minute and not here the next, and there it is. I drop out of warp next to a K162 from class 2 w-space, pulsating from being stressed to half mass. Maybe the Dominices were just pausing from collapsing this unwanted connection.

I re-hide my probes outside of the system, confident I've found the wormhole I am looking for, moments before the connection crackles. A Scorpion battleship piloted by a capsuleer in a state-owned corporation appears and jumps back, no doubt continuing the wormhole's demise. I watch, just to make sure, perhaps less to keep the home system safe and more because this is about as exciting as w-space gets at the moment.

Scorpion crashes an unwanted wormhole

Polarisation over, the Scorpion makes another pass, dropping the wormhole to critical mass. The next pass has the battleship left behind in favour of an Onyx heavy interdictor, a Buzzard cov-ops coming in at the same time, perhaps for safety. One pass in the Onyx is not enough, although the second drags the rest of the wormhole with it. I dunno what happened to the Buzzard. Maybe he just wanted to go on a roam, or wasn't actually affiliated with the C2 corporation and was heading home. Either way, there's little point waiting for a ship that could be anywhere. Yep, it definitely is time to go home and head off-line.

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